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A Patently Silly Filing by "Slydial"
From: David Farber <dave () farber net>
Date: Sat, 2 Aug 2008 09:52:42 -0700

From: Lauren Weinstein [lauren () vortex com]
Sent: Saturday, August 02, 2008 11:12 AM
To: David Farber
Cc: lauren () vortex com
Subject: A Patently Silly Filing by "Slydial"

                      A Patently Silly Filing by "Slydial"


Greetings.  "The New York Times" has a story up today about a
service called "Slydial" -- which is making a big deal out of
letting people send outgoing calls directly to cell phone voicemail
rather than ringing the destination phones
( http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/02/us/02sly.html ).

The story states that Slydial wouldn't reveal their technology since
it was apparently patent pending.

Well, I'll reveal it with a high level of probability, without even
having to see their application -- which one would hope would be
rejected by the USPTO (but of course, these days you can get a
patent on just about any ridiculous concept, so ...)

Anyhow, the obvious way to accomplish Slydial's purpose is simply to
link callers to the direct voicemail entry interfaces that are
available to cellular subscribers (and in many cases, open to anyone
who makes the simple effort to note the centralized voicemail access
number used by various carriers in regional areas).

Once you've used one of several techniques to access the voicemail
system at that level, a typical option is "send a message to another
number."  You enter the destination number (on that cellular system)
and you go straight to their voicemail prompt.

No magic at all -- lots of people use this feature to send each
other voicemail messages all the time.  The only "value-added" that
Slydial seems to be providing is (surreptitiously?) permitting
non-subscribers to access the systems.

Of course, I have no proof at this point that Slydial works in this
manner.  But it's a good bet that they're doing something along
these lines -- and also that their patent application belongs in the
round file at the patent office.

Say goodnight Gracie.

Lauren Weinstein
lauren () vortex com or lauren () pfir org
Tel: +1 (818) 225-2800
Co-Founder, PFIR
   - People For Internet Responsibility - http://www.pfir.org
Co-Founder, NNSquad
   - Network Neutrality Squad - http://www.nnsquad.org
Founder, PRIVACY Forum - http://www.vortex.com
Member, ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy
Lauren's Blog: http://lauren.vortex.com

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